Preparing for Mass on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

The prophet Isaiah proclaims the new glory that God will confer on his people, even at the cost of humiliating the nations; but he also knows the humiliation of Israel and how that finds its justification in Israel’s turning from her Lord.

We ourselves often find in that same quandary, somewhere betwixt and between the triumph of grace and the catastrophe of sin – the answer, always, is the Lord, surrendering to his will, being open to his love.

First reading  Isaiah 8:23-9:3

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

Fear God, Wait for the Lord
8.11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honour as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

For to Us a Child Is Born
9.1
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish.

In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2  The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3  You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4  For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.

5  For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6  For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7  Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Judgment on Arrogance and Oppression
8  The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it will fall on Israel;
9  and all the people will know,
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria,
who say in pride and in arrogance of heart:
10  “The bricks have fallen,
but we will build with dressed stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will put cedars in their place.”
11  But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him,
and stirs up his enemies.
12  The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west
devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

13  The people did not turn to him who struck them,
nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.
14  So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail,
palm branch and reed in one day—
15  the elder and honoured man is the head,
and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;
16  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray,
and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.
17  Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men,
and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows;
for everyone is godless and an evildoer,
and every mouth speaks folly.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

18  For wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes briers and thorns;
it kindles the thickets of the forest,
and they roll upward in a column of smoke.
19  Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts
the land is scorched,
and the people are like fuel for the fire;
no one spares another.
20  They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry,
and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied;
each devours the flesh of his own arm,
21  Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh;
together they are against Judah.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

Acknowledgements
Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2008, Allen Morris. Dawn at Lindesfarne..

One thought on “Preparing for Mass on the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.